The 2007 found footage horror movie Paranormal Activity revolutionized the genre in many respects and became one of the most successful independent movies ever made. It would go on to receive 5 sequels of varying success before ultimately billing its sixth installment as its last.
This would, as it so often does with profitable horror movie franchises, turn out to not be true, with a long-awaited seventh movie being officially announced by parent studio Paramount to be released for the seemingly much more appropriate age of streaming. Nevertheless, the Paranormal Activity series did very well as a multiplex horror icon and even hit Certified Fresh status on Rotten Tomatoes once upon a time. Here’s every movie released under the Paranormal Activity banner so far, ranked by its Tomatometer score.
For its final release to date, the Paranormal Activity franchise would deliver more special effects and gruesome kills than ever before but it was not enough to recoup the steady losses that the series had been experiencing with scores from critics, who were once quite enthusiastic about the premise and its execution, and returns at the box office, that were generally very high even when not taking the low budgets into account.
The Ghost Dimension would prove to not only be the most expensive of the series to date but also the lowest-grossing, making it no mystery as to why producers put the franchise on hold for a while.
After expanding the mythos of the franchise by delving into its history a bit more in the previous movie, Paranormal Activity 4 marked the moment when the series would finally modernize and start using smaller personal cameras for its footage, such as laptops and even games consoles. Unfortunately, fatigue had begun to settle into the public perception of the franchise, as reflected in its low critical ranking despite retaining directors from the previous–and much more highly-rated–entry.
Paranormal Activity 4 was able to use lots more locations for many more types of scenes but this would ultimately prove to alienate its supporters who considered the franchise’s simplest aspects to be its best, not to mention the extremely convoluted handling of the running story within the series.
Longtime writer for the franchise Christopher Landon, who was the solely-credited screenwriter on the previous two movies in the series, stepped up to directing duties for the fifth movie after the critical–and minor financial–stumble of the fourth installment and continued the evolution into different types of cameras being used for more outdoor shooting in wider urban environments.
Sadly, this could not turn the critics back onto the franchise’s side and it appeared that the series had passed a point of no return in the eyes of reviewers, becoming too confusing and complicated to fit with its simple structure.